Water features for kids

Stardrop(7a NC)May 31, 2003

I want to add some type of water feature to our garden, but am concerned about keeping the area safe for our 15-month-old. I really want both a fountain and a bird bath. The bird baths I've seen are two-piece and the perfect height for my child to pull over onto her head. Does anyone have suggestions for ways to do fountains and/or bird baths in a way that's safe for kids?

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What has worked for us is a very simple fountain made with a pump and pretty rocks from the yard. I have a 5 gallon pot with no holes and just put the pump in the bottom. Fill with all of the rocks and water and turn it on. It can't tip and the child can't fall into the water because the rocks take up most of the space.

I don't add any bleach, so it gets a little green around the edges. The kids still try and drink out of it.

For the birdbath, you can take any shallow dish and fill with water. I've also seen them with attachments that you can hook onto a deck railing.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2003 at 3:35AM
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butterbeanbaby(z5 MO)

For a birdbath, you can just use the top sitting on the ground or deck until your critter is old enough to not pull it over. They're also not deep enough to fall into. If you put in an in-ground fountain or pond, you can buy a metal mesh similar to hardware cloth to lay over the top... you can't see it from further away, but it keeps the feature safe. Also a fountain made with a grindstone or somthing similar (even just a fancy fountain head) sitting on top of a base of rock, with the water basin underneath the rock... there is no standing water that the critter can get to that way. Lots of splashing though, which is great fun!

We have a four year old critter and she helped me build our deck pond this year. She is fascinated with it. She helped me pick out all the plants (trips to the water garden places are so fun, she made friends with all the owners!) and got to pick out two fantails to put in it... one is Sally and the other started out as "Toenail" (keep in mind she IS four and it's her job description to be weird) but is now Sweetie. She loves to go out and hunt for them while they hide under the plants.


Here is a link that might be useful: Holly & Bay's deck pond

    Bookmark   June 21, 2003 at 8:29AM
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Hi Holly..how deep is your "plantainer"? What do you do with the fish in the winter? I badly want a small pond until I have the $ to do the real deal!!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2003 at 11:48PM
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butterbeanbaby(z5 MO)

Lynn, I think the plantainer is about 20" deep. We have a 20 gallon fish tank in our living room and all the equipment for a second tank (except the actual tank). Baylee and I decided that this winter Sweetie and Sally will live in her room in a 10 gallon tank on her window seat so they don't freeze their tails off!

The plaintainer cost about $19... the bamboo blind cost about $14... the pump cost about $20 or so. The fountainhead was a little pricey... there are resin ones at HD or Lowe's that are exactly the same for much less, but ours is either cast iron or brass, weighs a lot and cost about $35. I actually bought it to use as a book end (I've got another one that sits straight up). The plants were anywhere from $3 (for the water hyacinth) to $20 (for the hardy water lily). I think it's been a great way for us to "test the waters" on building a bigger pond next year.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2003 at 8:11PM
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butterbeanbaby(z5 MO)

BTW, Lynn... a pretty good source for quick and easy (and cheap) water gardens is Better Homes and Gardens "Water Gardens" book. It's got a good amount of info and ideas for beginners like me, enough to get you started and but not enough to confuse LOL.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2003 at 8:14PM
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    Bookmark   July 7, 2003 at 4:41PM
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denisew(z8 TX)

You could dig a hole, place a bucket, water and pump in it. Then place a rigid plastic screen over the top and put the tube from the pump through that and attach a bubbler or whatever small fountain head you want. Add river stones or other attractive rocks around it to hide the screen then turn it on. You can also plant around that area to make it even more attractive. Birds will love it, you will have the sound of running water plus an attractive water feature which you don't have to worry about children falling into it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2003 at 12:00AM
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